By Mr. Samuel Vaughn (AMC)February 5, 2009
Nevil "The Shadow" Shed played the role of motivational speaker as deftly as he used to move across the basketball court back in the day.
Walking back and forth across the Bob Jones Auditorium stage, he inspired his audience by sharing his experiences growing up in a segregated America. He related the blessings he has received throughout his life - from watching the racial insults his father endured, to aspiring to become a professional basketball player, to becoming a college basketball star who was drafted by the Boston Celtics. He was a forward on Texas Western's all-black starting five that beat the University of Kentucky for the national championship in 1966 and effectively broke the color barrier in college basketball.
Shed and his teammates were inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in September 2007. Their feat inspired the 2006 Disney movie "Glory Road."
And here he was addressing a filled 650-seat Bob Jones Auditorium as the keynote speaker for Team Redstone's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration on Jan. 28. After arriving the previous day, he was slightly injured when the car in which he was riding was involved in an accident. But he wanted to keep his speaking engagement, and he did.
He inspired. He entertained. And when he was finished, he didn't say goodbye.
"To be continued," he said in closing.
Shed, 65, who has a son in the Army returning to Iraq for a second tour, had given the audience "six nutritional facts for success." They included Christ, family, culture, preparation, execution, and follow through.
"We will continue the dream of success. I know that," he said.
His own dream of a successful pro basketball career was cut short by a severe knee injury in his first year. In 1980-81 he teamed up with basketball hall of fame coach Don Haskins as an assistant coach at his alma mater Texas Western, which became the University of Texas-El Paso. In 1981 he took a position as the assistant basketball coach for the first team fielded by the University of Texas at San Antonio. His tenure with UTSA lasted from 1981 to his retirement in 2006.
"What's next in your lives' When you leave this auditorium, what's next'" Shed asked.
In his case, the blessings will be continued.
Maj. Gen. Jim Myles, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal, presented the following awards to competition winners for the observance:
Aca,!Ac Essay winners: first place, Shanika Wright of the Missile and Space Intelligence Center; second, Dineesha Hobbs of the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; and third, Char-Karia Carter of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center.
Aca,!Ac Display winners: first place, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; second, Missile and Space Intelligence Center; and third, 2nd Recruiting Brigade.